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2019 6th Annual Tree Diversity Conference


To protect our urban forests, which are threatened by pests and pathogens, a greater variety of tree species is necessary.


For our sixth annual conference we will continue to explore the relationships between landscape design, horticultural practices and the use of a greater variety of tree species.


Between them, our speakers this year boast an extravagant depth of experience ranging from worldwide plant exploration to landscape and garden design, promotion of new plant materials, administration of some of our country's most noted horticultural conferences and institutions and hands-on experience with plant testing and data collection.


Public $80, includes all programming and lunch

$70 Promo, includes all programming and lunch

*Promotional price available to all Members of Colorado Tree Coalition


Symposium will be held at Denver Botanic Gardens in Mitchell Hall.


Speaker Lineup


The History of America's Urban Forests

Dr. Jill Jonnes

Dr. Jonnes surveys the long sweep of arboreal history in our cities and towns dating back to our nation's founding and continuing to our present-day foresters and researchers who are advocating for the importance of trees as our most important green infrastructure.


Jill Jonnes earned her doctorate in American History at Johns Hopkins University. She was the founder of the non-profit Baltimore Tree Trust and most recently is the author of "Urban Forests: A Natural History of Trees and People in the American Cityscape."



Tree Research on the Great Plains

Dr. Jason Griffin

Dr. Griffin discusses developments at the John C. Pair Horticultural Center in Wichita, Kansas, focusing on the testing of new woody plants in a climate not unlike that of our Rocky Mountain Front Range. He also speaks about the legacy of Dr. John C. Pair and the notable horticultural advances he carried out at the research center later named for him.


Jason Griffin has been the Director of the John C. Pair Horticultural Center, a unit of Kansas State University in Haysville, Kansas since he completed his doctoral studies in Horticultural Science and Plant Physiology at North Carolina State University in 2002.



Updates on Regional Species Diversity Augmentation

Kathleen Alexander and Michael Swanson

Urban forestry professionals from Denver and Boulder describe the status of tree species diversification in their communities, with emphasis on innovative species selection during the past five years and how those plants have thus far adapted to our challenging environment.


Kathleen Alexander has been with Boulder Forestry for 21 years, the last 10 as City Forester. She received her B.S. in Forest Biology and M.S. in Forest Management from Colorado State University and has been active in the ISA Rocky Mountain Chapter.


Michael Swanson has been with Denver Forestry for 18 years, the last 13 as Forestry Superintendent. Mike is an ISA-certified arborist and has volunteered extensively with the Colorado Tree Coalition and the ISA Rocky Mountain Chapter.




Exploring Trees of the Arid Southwest

Adam Black

Adam Black is the Horticultural Director of Peckerwood Gardens in Hempstead, Texas. Peckerwood Garden is a collection of more than 3,000 plants including many rarities; it is a conservation garden containing examples of numerous threatened species, many of which are no longer found in the wild. Previously he was the manager of the forest pathology and entomology laboratories at the University of Florida in Gainesville, FL.


Adam is a plant explorer who has sought out outstanding forms of native American trees in the Southwest, many of which have great potential to grow in Colorado.


Trees from Seed to City

Urban trees make a long and complex journey from seed to city. Whether propagated by seed, cutting, graft or tissue culture, it takes many skilled hands and a decade or more to grow a landscape-ready tree. It takes even longer to develop new and improved, genetically-diverse, climate-resilient cultivars suited for today’s challenging urban landscapes. Understanding these timelines, and learning the how and why of new cultivar development, will help you plan ahead for acquiring the best trees for urban forests of the future.


Nancy Buley


Nancy Buley is Director of Communications for J. Frank Schmidt & Son Co., where she has been “talking trees” for nearly 25 years on behalf of the wholesale growers based in Boring, Oregon. In recognition of her tree advocacy and stewardship efforts, she has earned various honors including a Horticultural Industries Leadership Award at Cultivate’18, a 2014 Frederick Law Olmsted Award from Arbor Day Foundation, and an Outstanding Professional Award from Oregon Community Trees.

Named a Lifetime Honorary Member of the American Society of Landscape Architects in 2004, Nancy is also a member of AmericanHort®, Oregon Association of Nurseries, GardenComm, International Society of Arborists, Society of Municipal Arborists, and a graduate of the Municipal Forestry Institute (MFI). She holds a bachelor’s degree in Technical Journalism and Horticulture from Oregon State University. A longtime member of the board of directors of Friends of Trees, Nancy lives and gardens in Boring, beneath an ever-widening canopy of shade.



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